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The Shamrock Superstars: Ireland’s All-Time Top 10 Footballers

Welcome, football fans! Ready to take a stroll down memory lane with some of the finest footballers from the Emerald Isle? We’re dishing out the stories of Ireland’s best, complete with their club timelines, goals, and national team glories. So, let’s kick off!

1. George Best

George Best Image

Picture by Hans Peters for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Where better to start than with Belfast’s own George Best? This fella was a wizard with the ball at his feet. Playing mostly for Manchester United, Best bagged 137 goals in 361 appearances. He’s got a Ballon d’Or to his name (1968), and helped United lift the European Cup in ’68 as well. A true legend, so he was.

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2. Roy Keane

Roy Keane Signing Autographs

Picture by Vintagekits at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Next up, we’ve got Cork’s fierce warrior, Roy Keane. His time at Manchester United was nothing short of legendary, with seven Premier League titles, a Champions League victory, and four FA Cups. Keane was the heart and soul of the team, a leader who didn’t shy away from a tackle.

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3. Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane in Ireland national jacket

Picture by Michael Kranewitter, CC BY-SA 3.0 AT, via Wikimedia Commons

Robbie Keane, no relation to Roy, mind you, is Ireland’s all-time leading scorer with 68 goals in 146 caps. At club level, he’s banged in over 300 goals. His journeyman career took him across the globe, but he’s perhaps best remembered for his spells at Tottenham Hotspur and LA Galaxy.

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4. Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath

Picture by Jonesy702, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dublin’s own Paul McGrath was a defensive stalwart. His time at Aston Villa and Manchester United was marked by rock-solid performances. Despite his battles off the pitch, McGrath’s on-field heroics earned him two League Cups and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 1993.

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5. Liam Brady

Liam Brady in 2021

Picture by RTÉ Sport – 2021, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Liam Brady, known for his silky skills, spent his glory days with Arsenal and Juventus. He lifted two FA Cups with Arsenal and a Serie A title with Juve. His 72 caps for Ireland were marked by a graceful midfield presence that could turn a game on its head.

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6. John Giles

Johnny Giles in 2013

Picture by Jordan Dunne – 2013, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leeds United legend John Giles was a midfield maestro. With Leeds, he won two League Championships, an FA Cup, and a League Cup. He also managed the Republic of Ireland, guiding them with the same passion he showed on the pitch.

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7. Damien Duff

Damien Duff

Picture by Mikhail Slain – 2009, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Damien Duff, with his lightning pace and trickery on the wing, was a joy to watch. He won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and notched up 100 caps for Ireland. His ability to whip in crosses and cut inside made him a defender’s nightmare.

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8. Denis Irwin

Denis Irwin 2017

Picture by Kjetil Ree – 2017, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most consistent full-backs of his generation, Denis Irwin was a stalwart for Manchester United. He was part of the treble-winning team of 1999 and racked up a total of 7 Premier League titles, a Champions League, and 3 FA Cups.

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9. Shay Given

Shay Given in 2010

Picture by Roger Gorączniak – 2010, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shay Given, the mighty Donegal man, was a goalkeeper of the highest order. With over 450 Premier League appearances and 134 caps for Ireland, Given was known for his remarkable reflex saves and commanding presence between the sticks.

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10. Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn in 2014

Picture by vagueonthehow from Tadcaster – 2014, York, England, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Last but not least, we’ve got the towering Niall Quinn. A gentle giant off the pitch but a formidable striker on it, Quinn notched up over 100 goals in the Premier League. He’s also remembered for his work as chairman at Sunderland, helping to steady the ship.

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Wrapping It Up

There you have it – a tribute to the titans of Irish football. These lads have woven their names into the fabric of the sport, mesmerizing fans at both the club and international levels. From George Best’s bewitching footwork to Shay Given’s goalkeeping prowess, their stories are etched in the annals of football history.

Thanks for joining us on this trip through Irish football legacy. Here at Betmaster, we’re all about celebrating these legends and eagerly await the next batch of heroes to emerge from the Emerald Isle. Until then, keep the football spirit alive. Sláinte!